Whether you get stressed out from time to time or you suffer from a chronic anxiety disorder, we are all familiar with the overwhelming symptoms of stress. We have all been ready to pull our hair out trying to find a way to nurture our nervous systems, but it is important to remember that no matter what your state of anxiety is—we all deal with stress differently. There is definitely no “one-size-fits-all” treatment to cure your anxieties, but the next time you are stressing, try some of The Rebellion’s strategies to see what works for you.
TALK TO SOMEONE:
School psychologist Charles Ferro stressed the importance of externalizing your problems. “Talk to anybody,” he said. “Friends are obviously kids’ first option, and they usually work the most, but once it gets to a point where it is beyond something a friend can do, then you need real help, and it can be from any trusted adult—it does not have to be a parent.”
“There are definitely a lot of people who feel like there is nowhere to go or no one to talk to,” said junior Lucy Gielow, who suffers from anxiety. “And they don’t end up getting the help they need—which will subsequently make whatever their problem may be infinitely worse.”
If you are uncomfortable discussing these feelings with your friends, turning to a professional may be the best option. It is understandable if the idea of sharing all your personal information with some adult stranger is terrifying, but, odds are, this professional has heard it all and in the long run can be incredibly helpful.
And a quick side note: talking to a therapist does not make you “crazy.” Although there is a stigma around seeking professional help for your mental woes, it is really the same as seeing a doctor when your leg is broken. You would never try to fix a broken leg on your own; and just the same, if you find yourself overwrought with stress or anxiety, seeking help is the best thing you can do for yourself.
USE, DON’T ABUSE, MENTAL HEALTH DAYS:
Give yourself a break every once in awhile! Mental health days are sometimes necessary to maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle. After one of those weeks when all your teachers test-bomb you, a mental health day can be a great way to recover and gather yourself in order to rejoin your studies as a renewed student who is ready to learn.
But mental health days only work if you use them reasonably. “You can only miss so much [school] before you’re anxious about coming back,” said Ferro. Missed days and make-up work pile up, and too many absences can instead become another source of stress, so do not take mental health days lightly.
Junior Ellen Irmiter said, “I had a friend once who told everyone she was sick with the stomach bug because she thought that admitting that she took a mental health day would be seen as a weak thing to do.”
You should not feel guilty for doing what’s best for your health, and you should not feel ashamed when you need a day to yourself. Again, in the same way you would rest if your leg were hurt, it is not weak to listen to your mind when it is telling you that you need a break. High school’s a grind, and everyone handles it differently.
DON’T HAVE FOMO:
Mr. Ferro reveals that one of the most overlooked stresses for teenagers is the “fear of missing out,” or FOMO, which the obsessive use of social media exacerbates to an entirely new level.
As teenagers we live through our phones: every “hangout” is documented and plastered all over the internet. Putting our lives on display has become an important part of upholding our social reputations; however, when you are the one watching your friends’ night unfold without you, you can feel alone.
But, in this technology-crazed day and age, you are eventually going to stumble across that Snap story of your friends hanging out while you lie alone in your bed binging “Shameless” on Netflix—and when this happens, you can either let it stress you out or take it in stride.
Do not freak. Do not stress. Finish that “Shameless” episode, and either make sure you initiate plans next time, or start looking to surround yourself with a group of people who will include you. Chances are there are plenty of other kids just like you sitting home watching their friends hangout through Snapchat.
Instead of refreshing your Instagram for the thousandth time, why not attempt to expand your app repertoire to include technologies that will boost your health and decrease your stress?
Pre-panic attack, open up a meditation app and do some deep breathing. Before you fall asleep the night before a big test, listen to a sleep hypnosis to ensure optimal rest. Maybe even download a yoga app to destress after school.
Even if you do not have easy access to a cell phone that does not mean that there is no help for you. Mr. Ferro performs hypnosis right downstairs in his office. “Hypnosis is outstanding if the kids one, need it, and two, buy into it,” said Ferro. What harm could come from giving it a chance?
- Stress Doctor* provides a variety of deep-breathing sequences paired with a heart rate monitor that allows you to see the effects breathing has on conquering your stress.
- Daily Yoga supplies a series of yoga workouts to keep those stress releasing endorphins flowing.
- The Mindfulness App allows app-users to choose from different meditations to calm down and find your inner-zen.